The Art of Appreciation- Practice Makes Permanent

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In simple terms, appreciation is feeling grateful for what one has.  It's easy for most of us to feel appreciative when things are going our way to be thankful for our health, family, and the ability to live in this great country. Many would also agree that it's not so easy to be thankful in the midst of hardship or chaos. However, difficult times are when the practice of appreciation, like the practice of yoga actually begins. Despite whats going on around you, we can all set a conscious intention to be more appreciative and in doing so, elevate your life and the lives of those around you. There are four ways we can practice the "art of appreciation."

 

 1. Daily gratitude practice: Make time daily to reflect on how grateful you are for your life, family, health and children.

2. In times of difficulty, trauma, or even disaster consciously pause and note just one small thing to appreciate about that situation.

3. Become a master appreciator: Letting others know that we appreciate them is a powerful connector. Whether it's someone in our family, a coworker or an acquaintance, make time to notice something that you appreciate about them and then let them know. This does not have to be complex and awkward, the simpler the thought the better, but a little bit of gratitude can go a long way in building relationships.   

4. Practice receiving gratitude: When someone gives you an appreciation, allow yourself a moment to fully receive their sentiment, internalize it, and notice how the energy in your body goes up. Rather than deflecting it, say thank you and enjoy!  

 

Namaste,  

Romy

Pure Motive

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When my teacher Christopher Hareesh Wallis taught on the importance of having a pure motive for practicing yoga, I gained a whole new perspective on how to approach my practice. What we do on the mat and in meditation is greatly affected by our motive for doing so, and having a pure motive is the most effective over the long term.  

 

What is a pure motive? It is practicing out of love for yourself, with a longing to know the truth, and for the benefit of all beings. When we approach our practice with pure motive we do so with an attitude of curiosity and wonder. An example of an impure motive is practicing in order to fix something or change something in ourselves; impure motives are not effective in the long term. Impure motives may originate from some story or a vision that you have that there is something wrong with you as you are, and you practice yoga or meditate to fix, or to achieve and attain something. Practicing with pure motive affirms all that is right with me; that I am already perfect and good; and I practice in order to remember, uncover, or get a glimpse of the truth. Approaching the practice with pure motive will open us up to remember and connect to the divine within.  

 

One way to enhance our yoga and spiritual practice is to make time to be still.  There is no better time than December, the Advent season, to recommit to meditation. Today our community of Complete Health Yoga will begin a meditation challenge. Start with at least 5 minutes of meditation daily and build up to 25 minutes by end of year.  Yes, this is the busiest time of the year, so no better time to sit, be still, remember and connect with the divine within you.  
 

Namaste,

Romy

Surya Namaskar- Sun Salutation

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There is so much to say about the deeply-rooted Surya Namaskar tradition, just hearing its beautiful lyrical pronunciation makes me smile.  Surya Namaskar translates from Sanskrit to “Sun Prostrations." Traditionally one rose early, at the time of the rising sun to do them. This yogic exercise has been practiced for thousands of years and consists of twelve asanas, one following the other in a cyclic order. Sun Salutations are an integral part of classic Hatha and Vinyasa practices but you will encounter many variations depending on the lineage, tradition, teacher, and ability. There are 3 formal versions of Surya Namaskar, A, B and C.  Surya namaskar can represent the entire practice or can be used as warm up or integrated within other yoga postures.  An important tradition of practicing 108 Sun Salutations at one time is used by many to celebrate major celestial events, like the equinox or changing of seasons.

 

Sun salutations are a fun and easy way to personalize yoga for a home practice. Waking up to 2 or 3 Sun salutations each day will get your breath in rhythm and your blood flowing. Approach them as a meditative dance, moving to the sound of your breath. You will get hooked!

 

Below are just a few reasons why we encourage you to learn surya namaskar by heart, and do them daily:  

Surya Namaskar is a practice all in itself

Can’t get to class? Too busy? Do a few sun salutations and you're done!

The Perfect Yoga Workout -  No equipment needed – and you can even do them in a chair!

Strengthens and impacts the heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat, and legs

Improves digestion, energy flow, agility, rejuvenation, beauty, and longevity

Helps keep the mind calm, relaxed and meditative

You can adapt them to your own style by adding other favorite postures at will

Express gratitude to the sun for its life sustaining energy for our planet

Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

The story and tradition of Passover is  grounded in the message of hope and deliverance.  This yearly celebration reminds us of  a time when Jews moved from oppression and slavery to freedom and liberation.  They were able to shift from a place of indignity to dignity; from marginalization to ability to live from within.  

Passover brings a message of hope as families gather to recite, remember and share in detail the true story of liberation.  

Easter is a sacred time when Christians honor the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Christians typically spend the 40 days of Lent committed to some kind of practice that helps them remember Christ's sacrifices, embody His qualities and to follow in His footsteps.

Jews, Christians, Yogis and all beings can benefit from the the Passover and Easter traditions by committing to awakening anew to the presence of Divine infinite consciousness.  All of us can bring on empathy and love, and grow in awareness of Divine joy within our soul.  We can use the limb of "Pratyahara" or Turning Inward, to go within.  We can choose to nourish by meditation our relationship with the Divine, and to practice Christ’s way of kindness, forgiveness and loving service to all.  We can use these teachings to study where in our modern day lives are people enslaved, marginalized and where we may be enslaving ourselves by our stories, habits and beliefs.  

Paramahansa Yogananda said:  “The love that most persons feel for dearest family and friends, Jesus felt for the whole world and every living being and that It was this all-embracing love that motivated Christ to willingly lay down his life for the welfare of others."

AND NOW THE PRACTICE BEGINS for the modern Yogi to cultivate daily acts of acts of love, compassion, strength, humility and kindness daily. Breath-by-breath!  Step-by-step!